USA Lineup (4-2-3-1) – GK: Guzan; Cameron, Gonzalez, Goodson, Beasley; Jones, Bradley; Zusi, Dempsey [C], Gomez; Altidore
Not surprising to see DaMarcus Beasley getting the rare start at left back with the USA thin on defensive options. Geoff Cameron will slide over to right back, where he normally plays for Stoke City and Gonzalez and Goodson will lineup in the center in front of Guzan. All in all, it could be worse for the USA defensively. I like the idea of Zusi, Dempsey and Gomez playmaking in front of the holding midfielders Bradley and Jones. I’ve never liked Jozy Altidore playing as a lone striker, but ideally the formation will have Gomez and Dempsey alternating playing as the second striker and outside midfielder hitting in crosses with Zusi primarily playing on the left side.
I expect to see a lot of Dempsey, Gomez and Zusi bringing the ball and leading the counter attack. In the build-up plays, I’d like to see Cameron coming up from the right flank for two reasons: I don’t want Beasley over exerting his position on the backline and because I expect the right flank to be open as Dempsey moves around the field. All I want from Guzan and the backline is organization. Costa Rica’s attack is not to be taken lightly and many of the MLS guys know why.
Options for the USA on the bench will include the versatile Eddie Johnson, who could feature up front as a striker or as a winger. Kyle Beckerman is the extra holding midfielder, Matt Belser and Justin Morrow the extra defenders. Playmaking wingers Sasha Kljestan and Brek Shea are available as well as the striker Boyd. Brad Davis is not in uniform as the “24th player.”
Costa Rica Lineup
Navas, Gamboa, Gonzalez [C], Umana, Bolanos, Oviedo, B Ruiz, Saborio, Barrantes, A Rodriguez, Miller
The player to remember in this lineup is Alvaro Saborio, Real Salt Lake striker and one of the best goal scorers in CONCACAF. He’s known for playing well against the USA and he’s in good form in the MLS. And since he plays in nearby Salt Lake, don’t expect him to be affected by the elements.
Shocking, but it’s snowing at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Denver, Colorado so I’m sure that’s going to make this match extra entertaining. Hopefully we won’t see a lot of cold related injuries in this game. I hope the local Dick’s has some extra thermal wear and orange soccer balls…otherwise that would just be embarrassing.
Also, the match referee's will have to sign off on the pitch. There is accumulation on the field and it's up to the refs to determine if the game can be played.
Honduras 2 – 2 Mexico
What it means for USA: Well it means that Mexico now has two draws in their first two games after a late Honduras rally nullified Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez’s early double. So if the USA beats Costa Rica tonight, they’ll be on three points, one ahead of Mexico heading into Azteca. With all the controversy surrounding the USA leading up to this game, it should be mentioned alongside of Mexico’s early struggles and Honduras’ leap to the top of the CONCACAF table.